This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Human Rights First

Human Rights Discussion on Campus on October 11

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, an important landmark in the history of American world leadership. AAVC will sponsor a symposium titled “In Small Places Close to Home: Americans Struggle for Human Rights,” on Saturday, October 11, 2008. The event also coincides with Eleanor Roosevelt’s birthday, who addressed the United Nations in New York on March 27, 1958 with these words.

“Where, after all, do universal rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places  where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerned citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”

Roosevelt was an active advocate of human rights and a valued friend of the college. Among the issues that will be addressed at the symposium are: What was and is the role of the United States in developing a post-World War II human rights regime? Does the United States need to reassert its world leadership role by improving the example it sets? Are we practicing what we preach in the realm of human rights, domestically and internationally?

President of Human Rights First Michael Posner (pictured) will deliver the keynote address at the symposium. Panelists will include moderator M. Glen Johnson, professor emeritus of political science; Joseph Nevins, associate professor of geography; Dr. Karin Deutsch Karlekar ’94, senior researcher and managing editor of Freedom of the Press; Grisela Alejandro Jackson ’78, community organizer and activist in post-Katrina New Orleans; Ann Northrop ’70, journalist and activist and co-host of the national weekly news program Gay USA; and Reverend Richard Witt, executive director of Rural and Migrant Ministries in Poughkeepsie. The event is free and open to the public.

October 2008

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